Mads Mikkelsen recalls Rogue One filming: ‘Some of it was a little chaotic’

Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016). Photo: Lucasfilm.
Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016). Photo: Lucasfilm. /

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was the first live-action Star Wars spinoff movie that didn’t officially dub itself as one of the Star Wars “Episodes.” As a first-of-its-kind movie, many people didn’t know what to expect out of this, especially considering a year prior, they had already launched the brand new sequel trilogy. A lot was going on in the franchise, and The Force Awakens was already getting mixed reviews. So would Rogue One stand the tests of time?

Unequivocally, yes! The movie was a success, and it gave audiences faith that we could have successful Star Wars content outside of the main trilogies. (That, of course, paved the way for the likes of The Mandalorian, the other Disney+ series, and all the other Star Wars movies set to come out.)

But, while Rogue One looks like a smooth and near-flawless movie on screen, actor Mads Mikkelsen had a slightly different experience when it came to filming the movie. Speaking on the Happy Sad Confused podcast recently (via Inside the Magic), Mikkelsen expressed what it was like getting to be a part of the cast while filming this one-of-a-kind movie. Here’s what he had to say:

"Some of it was a little chaotic. There was no secret that there was some rewriting in the script while we were doing it. And when you do that…it is obviously very tricky for the actors to know “What am I carrying into this room now? I opened the door. I’m not back to what happened before.” So there was some of that.Having said that, it always felt like a solid story. A young girl lost, [who] doesn’t know where she belongs in the world. Then an Oppenheimer story unfolds. She’s always heard he [Galen] was this, and then she realizes he was that. And it was quite beautifully written. At the end of the day, the changes that were in the film were not as dramatic as people talk about. It was tweaks, but obviously, if you do it while you’re working it can be confusing."

From what Mikkelsen said in the first paragraph, it sounds like there were a few continuity things that made acting in the scenes a bit difficult at times. That could include the rewriting of scenes, or having some scenes taken out altogether.

Depending on the filming schedule, that may have also included reshoots — that of which apparently ended up really saving the movie. Of course, reshoots are typically common anyway; it’s not necessarily a bad sign for a movie. But reshoots do have the power to make or break a movie. And in this case, the results are clear that the movie was saved.

On the other hand, we can see from Star Wars experience that the chaos of it all doesn’t always tie itself up into a neat bow. Many pick apart the second spinoff film, Solo: A Star Wars Story, as an example of a film that just couldn’t pull itself together. As with all Star Wars films, some people liked it, and others didn’t. But it by and far didn’t have the same universal appeal to the fandom the way Rogue One did.

So, it really comes down to the story you’re trying to tell. And as Mikkelsen said, Rogue One was certainly a solid story. Just this week, we got to see a glimpse of one of the scenes that could have been included in the movie (a scene between Darth Vader and Tarkin). But even with that scene removed, the movie was still a success. And it’s no wonder why, more than four years later, we’re still talking about it today.

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